How to Care for Your Aging Dog

By Lauren Colman on Nov 20, 2013 at 10:22 am

Your canine companion is likely your best friend who has been by your side for many years, and through both good and bad times. You have been able to rely on them, and as they age they will need to rely on you to take care of them. This can mean many things. As dogs age they require a different level of care than they did in their younger years. You will need to take a proactive approach to maintaining your dogs health for as long as possible.

Monitor your dog’s condition and watch for signs that age may be catching up with them. This can include greying of the fur, slower movement, decreased appetite, longer response times to commands, and they may even begin to seem a little grumpy. These are all natural signs of the aging process setting in; however there are some things that need to implemented in order to slow the degenerative aging processes.

Increase the frequency of regularly scheduled visits to the veterinarian

Just as people need to maintain regular doctor visits as they age, animals also need to be checked up regularly. The reason for this is that the body, although quite efficient at healing itself, can sometimes have a harder time fighting off infections and disease as it ages. Even if a problem seems minor, and as if it will fix itself like it did in the past, it is a better idea to have your pet evaluated in order to be sure that the small problem is not actually a signal that a larger problem is looming.

A veterinarian will also evaluate your pets eyesight. A common problem for many animal companions including dogs are the development of cataracts, or glaucoma late in life. This can seriously affect their eyesight, and could even potentially lead to blindness. By diagnosing a problem at the earliest stages possible, there may be ways to halt, slow, or fix the damages, or at the very least the vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pet adjust to the changes that are taking place.


Be sure to continue a regular exercise program for your pet

Although your pet may be slowing down, they will still need to play and exercise regularly. It is important for humans to remain active in order to preserve the quality of their life as they age, and the same is true for your dog. Although age may slow your dog down, they can still go out for walks, chase balls, and go for a swim. The best idea is to monitor your dog while you are out together, watch for indications that your dog may be in pain, or tired and gear your activity level to that. A dog who demonstrates pain during movement should be taken to a veterinarian to get looked at. There is a chance, which is heightened among some breeds, that the pet may have rheumatism or arthritis, and the vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pet be in less pain, and also will be able to tell you how to alter your pets activity to meet their needs without pushing their limitations. 

Your dog’s nutritional needs change as they age 

When your dog is new and in it’s puppy phase you feed it a formula specially designed for puppies, well, when your dog gets older it needs a specially formulated food also. The reason for this is that with the dog slowing down, they do not have the same energy demands. If you do not alter your dogs food to a special food designed for an elderly canine, your dog could become overweight. This is bad because it puts stress on your cherished companions internal organs and their joints. This can decrease your dog’s longevity and make them very uncomfortable late in life. You may want to consider the offerings of Royal Canin when you are looking for a well formulated, and nutritionally sound food to nourish your pet and meet their bodies requirements.

It is important that you pay attention to your pet as they age. You will want to continue to watch them and monitor their health, while making adjustments to their lifestyle to ensure they do not get hurt. By taking care of your pet to the best of your ability, you can ensure your remaining years together are as happy as those that preceded them.


This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and a full time pet lover. When she is not working she likes to travel and do yoga. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.
Posted in Wag Worthy by Lauren Colman on Nov 20, 2013 at 10:22 am

 1 Comment

Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWiener

said on Nov 23, 2013 at 9:25 am
The biggest change in Chester since he has gotten older is the grumpiness you mention. I feel fortunate that he still wants to and can hike for miles. I have been shopping around for packs for that day when he finally can't. I couldn't imagine having to leave him at home!

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